Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
Major £24m investment to transform five Welsh railway stations
A £24m European-backed programme to transform five railway stations across Wales has been announced by Transport Minister, Edwina Hart.
- Leading science innovation company signs up for Life Sciences Hub Wales
- “Autumn Statement has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales” – Jane Hutt
- Major £24m investment to transform five Welsh railway stations
- Alternatives to Waste Transfer Notes and other aspects of Waste Regulation
- Proposals concerning the publication of official statistics
- Consultation on Regional engagement partnership structures in the tourism sector
- Beyond 2011: Consultation on Census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales
- M4 Corridor around Newport Consultation
- Undertaking fatal and non-fatal drug poisoning reviews in Wales
Featured consultation »New guidance for the Risk Assessment of Walked Routes to School
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
Oral - The Welsh Assembly Government’s Response To The Fifth Annual Report Of The Children’s Commissioner For Wales
I welcome the chance to respond to what, sadly, turned out to be Peter Clarke’s final annual review as Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Peter brought to his job passion, dedication and commitment. Above all, he was willing to speak his mind about issues that he thought important, especially those that children and young people raised with him as he went around Wales listening to what they had to say. The same qualities were reflected in his annual reports, and this is no exception. It shows Peter’s pride in the mechanisms that he had put in place to enable children and young people to shape the work of his office and to help determine his priorities. It reflects issues of real concern to young people, such as not having enough to do or safe places to play, and the feeling of many young people that they are not respected in their local communities. The report gives the Assembly Government credit for the progress that we are making in some areas, and is robust in criticising what Peter believed to be a lack of progress in others.
We have always taken the children’s commissioner’s reports seriously. Like him, we recognise that we have not been able to make progress as quickly or as comprehensively as we would have wished. However, although there is much more to be achieved, we believe that we have put down solid foundations for the future. Peter’s work, alongside Gwenda Thomas’s safeguarding vulnerable children review, will make children in Wales safer.
One of the great advantages that we have in Wales is that our commissioner and the Assembly Government speak the same language when it comes to children and young people. We share a common commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to promoting real participation in decision making, and to ensuring that all children and young people can enjoy full citizenship at every stage of their lives. On Thursday, we will be launching our report on progress in implementing the UN convention, which will be an opportunity to reflect on how the convention has been used proactively to shape policy and determine the way that services are delivered for children and young people in Wales. In addition, Funky Dragon will present its own children’s and young people’s report, ‘Our Rights, Our Story’.
Significant progress has been made since the period covered by Peter’s report. We have recently launched new national standards for involving children and young people in decision making. It is a key milestone in the work that we are undertaking with our partners to promote children and young people’s participation. The standards are being piloted with different groups of children and young people and will be developed into a nationally recognised kitemark for participation. We have issued for consultation our draft strategy for counselling in schools—one of the last recommendations in the ‘Clywch’ report requiring action. The final strategy will be published later this year. This is a major undertaking, and, when fully implemented, will be the first of its type in the United Kingdom.
Later this week, we will consult on proposals for a new integrated service model for advocacy services—another issue close to Peter Clarke’s heart. This will seek views on the potential for an advocacy unit to promote best practice and excellence in the field. We know from consultation already undertaken with children and young people that they want an advocacy and complaints service that is integrated across services, yet independent of service providers—a one-stop shop approach, as suggested by the commissioner in ‘Telling Concerns’. Their views have been taken into account in developing the new service model.
I am proud that Wales has become the first country in the United Kingdom to have statutory school councils in all maintained primary, secondary and special schools. Our school councils project continues to work with a broad range of partners to provide practical information and support to schools to help them to develop effective school councils. In June, we issued our food and fitness implementation plan for children and young people, which is a five-year plan to improve nutrition and levels of physical activity. At the same time, we issued ‘Appetite for Life’, which sets out our proposals for driving up nutritional standards in schools. We have also launched for consultation our autistic spectrum disorder strategic action plan for Wales, and additional funding of £1.7 million will be made available in 2007-08 to help meet the special educational needs of children with autism.
Much has been done to implement the improvements in child and adolescent mental health services envisaged in ‘Everybody’s Business’, but, as we acknowledge in our published response to Peter’s report, we still have further to go. Over the next 12 months, the Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales will undertake an independent review of CAMHS provision in Wales. A consultation on the new CAMHS in-patient service for south Wales will commence in May.
Much has been happening in relation to looked-after children. In July, new arrangements will be introduced strengthening the statutory duties of local authorities and the health service in relation to placement and review arrangements and health and education provision for looked-after children. We have already made a grant of £1 million a year available in 2006-07 and 2007-08 to enable local authorities, as corporate parents, through the Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education in Wales grant, to support the education of looked-after children.
All of these initiatives, together with other policies that we are taking forward across ministerial portfolios, contribute directly to achieving our seven core aims for children and young people, which are based upon the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our commitment is to continue making real progress in implementing those rights. We owe it to all children and young people in Wales—and to Peter Clarke’s legacy—to ensure that those rights can be enjoyed to the fullest possible extent.